Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.
Like most folks, I imagine my eye is drawn to one particular word in this passage: rest.
We live in such a chaotic world that most of us don’t do “rest” very well. So, when Jesus offers us an invitation to find rest for our souls, we snap to attention.
First question that comes to my mind is: “How?”
And, this is followed by: “Where?”
Instead, the question should be, “Who?”
Jesus offers us an invitation to learn about "resting well" from Himself: the very One who could calmly sleep in a rocking boat on a stormy sea with a dozen fear-driven, raucous men.
I would say Jesus knew how to do “rest” fairly well!
So, He invites us to come and learn from Him.
That invitation is for anyone who is weary of being heavy-laden (bent over from a load of worry, want, or a waxing/waning lifestyle).
Whew! After the last 12 days of travel, I’m ready to jump all over the offer…except…wait…
There is a condition to this invitation.
The condition involves taking a yoke.
The disciples knew exactly what Jesus was asking; and, if we think about it for a minute, so do we.
A yoke was a collar worn by a pair of oxen for the purpose of doing a work of service.
Each yoke was fitted specifically to the oxen that would wear it.
Generally, a lead ox took charge of the team; and the other ox submitted to the leadership of that head.
It's very clear, Jesus is referring to Himself as the lead ox...So, Jesus’ invitation involves submission.
Now, there’s a word that makes us all a little nervous.
I’ve certainly been burnt before, submitting in situations where I’ve been taken advantage of, treated unfairly, and hurt. Submitting now leaves me a little skeptical, and…cautious.
Must have been true for Jesus’ audience, as well, because right away, He gives all of us a reason to not give in to our trepidation.
There it is, the “I AM” statement:
I AM gentle and humble in heart.
We don’t have to be fearful of submitting, when the One who is leading us underneath the yoke is:
Gentle: Our Savior is a man of strong character, under control, tempering his strength with meekness and kindness.
Humble: This is the man who was by very nature God, but chose to come to this earth for one purpose – to serve. Speaks volumes to me.
Under the yoke of Jesus, we are treated with kindness and tenderness; our good is always considered above all; and, we are deferred to with love, mercy and grace.
It’s a “better” yoke…a light load.
In other words – we’re already under some yoke anyway, why not exchange the one we’re hauling for a kinder, better yoke – one that is light and under which we can “rest”?
It's a gentle load. It’s light. It’s better.
All because of the One who carries it with us!
The invitation is really an invitation to submission.
Submission results in rest for our souls.
The two concepts are equal: one and the same.
We can’t have one without the other.
We'll never get burnt by the One who works alongside us - the One who is always gentle and humble of heart.